Newsletter : 5fax0201.txt
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>PD Feb. 1, 1995, V3, #22
Algeria Proposes Cooperation with Israel
Algeria has proposed to Israel that the two countries work
together to combat fundamentalist Islamic movements. The proposal
was reportedly submitted to Israel's Ambassador to Austria by his
Algerian counterpart. Officials in Jerusalem have not disclosed any
details of the Algerian offer.
Peres Meets Mubarak This Morning
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres this morning to look at ways to break the
deadlock in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. The two men
also are expected to discuss the nuclear non-proliferation treaty
and Egypt's insistence that Israel sign the document.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa says the peace process is
going through a dangerous and delicate time. He says Mubarak will
press the Israeli minister to reopen the crossings with Gaza and
the West Bank to let tens of thousands of Palestinians back to
their jobs inside Israel.
PLO-Israeli negotiations on expanding self rule have been stalled
since a suicide bombing attack in January that killed 21 Israelis.
Israel has pushed PLO leader Yasir Arafat to crack down on
militants who are trying to sabotage the peace process.
Mubarak also is expected to discuss Egypt's firm position on the
nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which comes up for renewal in
April. Egypt says it will not sign on again unless Israel does
too. Israel has never signed the treaty and still refuses to do
Ramadan Starts in Islamic World
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
The approximately 3-million Muslims in israel and the occupied and
autonomous Palestinian territories are among hundreds of millions
of Muslims worldwide who have begun celebrating the holy month of
There was a time when on the first day of Ramadan the Al-Aksa
mosque in Jerusalem's Old City -- Islam's third holiest shrine --
was crowded with worshipers and people studying the Muslim holy
book, the Koran. But on Tuesday, the crowds were small.
Residents of the nearby occupied West Bank are barred from the
city by an Israeli closure order, designed to enhance security
after the bombing near Tel Aviv 11 days ago which killed 21
Local residents say this Ramadan is in marked contrast to last
year, when restrictions on worshipers from outside the city were
eased because of the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. That was
the first time there was relatively free access to Jerusalem for
Ramadan since the start of the Palestinian uprising, the intifada,
seven years earlier.
Still, one of the senior Muslim religious leaders of the region
says there are some signs of progress. Mufti Ikermah Sabri said
that this year, for the first time, Islamic clergymen at Al-Aksa
made their own sighting of the crescent moon Monday night, marking
the start of the holy month. The mufti says that is a sign of
Palestinian independence, in a religious sense. In the past,
Palestinian Muslims relied on official announcements from Jordan,
Egypt or Saudi Arabia.
But the mufti, who was appointed last year by the Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat, also has several complaints about the current
situation. He says this Israeli closure is very effective, and it
is preventing many of Muslim faithful from reaching Jerusalem to
pray. Until now, most of the complaints about the closure had been
related to its economic impact.
Israel says it will not end the closure until the Palestinian
Autonomy Authority takes steps to fight radical organizations
which operate freely in autonomous areas.
The closure and the onset of Ramadan resulted in a call by the
Fatah organization in the West Bank for Palestinians to try to
reach Jerusalem, and to hold prayers at Israeli army checkpoints
if they are stopped. Fatah is Arafat's own group within the PLO.
Israel Opens Cave of Patriarchs for Muslim Observance
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
The Israeli army has announced special arrangements at the
controversial Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank town, Hebron,
for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started Tuesday.
The army closed the area to Jews on Tuesday, for the start of
Ramadan and said 1,200 Muslims would be allowed to pray in the
mosque above the cave. Other rooms of the building over the cave
are designated as a synagogue, and on most days members of the two
religions both pray in separate parts of the building, using
The mosque and synagogue were closed for eight months, following
last February's massacre of 29 Muslim worshipers by a radical
Jewish settler. It re-opened in November with a wall between the
Jewish and Muslim prayer areas and tight security. Neither group
was satisfied with the arrangement, but it has resulted in
generally-peaceful use of the site.
The new rules provide for 10 days a year for each group to have
exclusive use of the building. An army spokesman says the first
day of Ramadan is one of the exclusive Muslim days and there will
be four more during the month. The spokesman says there are no
special security arrangements for Ramadan at the cave site, but
officials are believed to be watching carefully for any sign of a
repeat of last year's massacre, or a retaliation.
Japan Article Denies Holocaust
While the world marks the 50thn anniversary of the liberation
of Auschwitz, Japan's leading conservative publishing house has
printed an article denying that Jews were gassed at the Nazi death
The 10-page article, including an editor's note lauding its
findings, has drawn fire from the Israeli Embassy and a leading
American Jewish group and intensified concerns over Japanese
anti-Semitism, a persistent theme in Japanese intellectual life
that has taken on a new virulence in recent years.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles has written Japan's
ambassador in the United States and asked the government to
publicly condemn the magazine article. Titled "There Were No Nazi
Gas Chambers," it appeared in February's edition of Marco Polo, a
slick monthly with 250,000 mostly young adult readers that is
published by the prestigious Bungei Shunju Co.
Bungei Shunju's weekly and monthly magazines are considered a
bellwether of public opinion in Japan. Leading figures such as Akio
Morita, Shintaro Ishihara and officials from Keidanren, the
country's top big business group, have used Bungei Shunju's stable
of prestigious publications to get their latest thinking before the
In the Marco Polo article, freelance author Masanori Nishioka
claims there was no Holocaust and that the gas chambers at
Auschwitz were set up by the Polish communist government after the
Nishioka, a doctor, did not travel to Europe or conduct any
interviews for the article. His assertions contain references to
the growing "Holocaust denial" literature in Europe and the United
For the survivors of the Holocaust, the Marco Polo article is akin
to a public denial of the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and
the death and suffering which it wrought on the Japanese people,''
wrote Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal
Center, in his letter Jan. 19 to Ambassador Takakazu Kuriyama.
Last April, Japan's largest business daily, the Nihon Keizai
Shimbun, ran a large advertisement for a series of books alleging
Jews were responsible for the Japanese stock market crash.
"Shoot Japan: The Last Strong Enemy'' alleged that a cabal of
Jewish bankers was out to destroy the last threat to their
worldwide hegemony: Japan. Two months ago, the Yomiuri Shimbun, the
largest newspaper in Japan, ran advertisements for a similar series
Throughout 1992, as Japan's recession worsened, mainstream weekly
and monthly magazines were filled with articles claiming Jews were
behind Japan's economic woes.
After Bill Clinton was elected president, the weekly Shukan
Gendai suggested that Jewish capital was behind his sudden rise to
Fearing a tough approach on trade, the magazine asserted that
Jews were behind the push for Japan's internationalization, saying
they would benefit most.
Anti-Semitic tracts have long been a staple of Japan's book
publishing industry. Masami Uno, perhaps the most prolific author
in the genre, has sold millions of copies of his books.
"If You Understand Jews, You Can See the Whole World," first
published in 1986, has sold more than 600,000 copies alone.
Arie Dan, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said his protests fell
on deaf ears at Marco Polo's editorial offices, where he met with
deputy editor Seigo Kimata.
"The man did not react. He did not apologize, which they usually
do. Nor would he even consider our request to be more cautious in
the future," he said.
Dan said the embassy plans to raise the issue through diplomatic
channels. He called the article the worst anti-Semitic incident in
Japan in at least two years.
When contacted, Kimata refused to comment.
Editor Kazuyoshi Hanada, the top editor at Bungei Shunju who took
over the reins of Marco Polo last April, was unavailable for
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Wiesenthal Center said that its
pressure campaign on advertisers in Marco Polo was having
results. At least one major corporation had suspended all
advertising in the magazine, he said.
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